Oil Prices Surge to New High

AUGUST 12, 2005 - Posted at 7:26 a.m. CDT

SINGAPORE - Motorists and other consumers being hammered by rising oil prices can expect more of the same.

The price of crude oil on international markets has hit yet another high.  Asian electronic trading overnight has pushed the price of oil for September delivery to $66.10 a barrel.  Oil prices are now nearly 50 percent higher than they were a year ago.

The surge mirrors growing global demand but also reflects refinery outages and fears that supplies in the U.S. won't be able to cover growing demand at the peak of the summer driving season.

The Energy Department this week announced that gasoline inventories dropped by more than two million barrels last week.  A commodities strategist in Tokyo says refinery breakdowns are a big issue but he says they're happening at a time when gasoline supplies are already very tight.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)